Eircom to Shed Jobs

The Irish telecommunications company is set to lay off 450 workers – 120 in the UK – as it scales back its operations in the light of the demerger of its eircell mobile business and challenging market conditions.

Announcing a general meeting next month for eircom shareholders to approve the sale of eircell to Vodafone, the company also announced a refocused strategy to concentrate on “being the leading fixed line voice, data and Internet communications service in Ireland.”

The review has stemmed from increasing competition in voice services as well as a regulatory environment, which the company feels is leading to “declining investment in telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland”. As part of the new focus on core operations, eircom is cutting the size of its international and multimedia workforce.

Staffing levels in Britain will fall from 100 to 20, as the company reduces its operations to concentrate on managing traffic flow between the UK and Ireland. Forty jobs are also to be lost in Northern Ireland as eircom NI is aligned with the core business.

The company will also be pulling out of Internet software and content development investments and merging the eircom net and Indigo ISPs; this will result in about 200 job losses. Proving that BT is not the only company in the EU struggling with broadband, eircom is also reducing its investment in DSL technology, and deferring the roll-out of a DSL-based TV and entertainment service to concentrate on getting DSL Internet access out to customers during the second half of its financial year ending 31 March 2002.

Eircom has also confirmed that it is in sale discussions with eIsland and a consortium involving International Investment and Underwriting Limited, although the outcome of these discussions is dependent upon completion of the eircell deal with Vodafone.

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